The Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism is the first and foundation of all the sacraments. We cannot receive the other sacraments until we first receive baptism. Baptism is conferred upon a person (infant, child or adult) by the pouring of water over the head three times with the minister proclaiming, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Baptism does three primary things for us:
- It heals the wound of original sin (a spiritual “genetic defect” passed down to all people making it difficult at times for us to know God, to know God’s will and to make good and healthy decisions in our lives).
- It gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. After baptism, the Holy Spirit (God’s life and Spirit) begins to live within us—to guide and strengthen us throughout life.
- It makes us members of God’s family, the Church. With baptism, we become God’s daughters and sons and are invited to receive the fullness of the blessings and gifts God wishes to give to his people.
Baptism is conferred by a deacon or priest (or anyone, but only in the case of an emergency). Call the rectory to arrange the baptism. In order to have your child baptized, you must first attend a Pre-Baptismal class. Please contact the rectory for further information. Please pay close attention to who is eligible to be a sponsor for baptism listed below.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish values the role that godparents play in the life of your child. As representatives of our faith, they are entrusted with the privilege and responsibility of helping your child to grow in the Catholic Faith. While it is natural to want to ask family and friends to be godparents, it is more important that these individuals be people who love and practice their faith. We ask that you please adhere to the following requirements for Catholic godparents before asking someone to serve in this capacity.
Qualifications/requirements for a Catholic to serve as a godparent
- The godparent must be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church who has received the Sacraments of Baptism, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation.
- The godparent cannot be the mother or the father of the one to be baptized.
- The godparent must be at least 16 years of age.
- The godparent must be a practicing Catholic, who is registered in a parish, attends Mass on Sundays and holy days, receives the sacraments on a regular basis.
- If married, the godparent must have followed the laws of the church concerning marriage – In other words, the person must have been married by the rules of the church.
The Diocese of Erie continues the practice of requiring proof of eligibility for godparents from the parish in which the sponsor is registered.
The number of godparents
1. Only one godparent is required for baptism.
2. If, two godparents are chosen one must be male and the other female.
3. The second sponsor may be a Christian Witness (i.e., a non-Catholic Christian may fulfill this role who is actively practicing his or her faith. However, this individual may not be a former Catholic).